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Heart Disease, Strokes No. 1 Killer Worldwide, Report Says

May 02, 1997| Reuters

LONDON — Diseases of affluence, such as heart disease and strokes, kill more people worldwide than anything else, according to a report published today.

The study, summarized in the Lancet medical journal, found that in 1990 nearly 6.3 million people died of heart disease--mostly heart attacks--and nearly 4.4 million deaths were attributable to strokes.

Christopher Murray of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and Alan Lopez of the World Health Organization were commissioned by the World Bank to investigate the causes of death worldwide.

One surprising finding, they said, was that heart disease and strokes were major causes of death in the developing world. It was widely thought that diseases caused by high-fat, high-sugar diets and lack of exercise would be restricted to more affluent populations.

Among their other findings, based on 1990 figures:

* Measles, road accidents and drowning together kill five times the number of people who die in wars.

* One death in 10 is from an injury.

* More than half of all female suicides in the world happen in China.

* Among women 15 to 44, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the biggest cause of death.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Causes of Death Globally

A new report finds heart disease--mostly heart attacks--and strokes kill more people worldwide than anything else.

THE TOP 10

*--*

Rank Cause Number of deaths* 1. Heart disease 6,260,000 2. Stroke 4,381,000 3. Pneumonia, lower respiratory infections 4,299,000 4. Diarrheal diseases 2,946,000 5. Perinatal disorders 2,443,000 6. Chronic lung disease 2,211,000 7. Tuberculosis (non-HIV) 1,960,000 8. Measles 1,058,000 9. Road accidents 999,000 10. Lung, trachea and bronchial cancer 945,000

*--*

* 1990

Sources: World Bank, World Health Organization

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